Reproductive Justice

Equality Rights in PEI

Join the conversation on social media: #EqualityPEI #AbortionAccessNowPEI

Status Update: On March 31, 2016, Premier Wade MacLauchlan announced that PEI will open a women’s health clinic in the province as soon as possible, which will offer a full complement of reproductive health services, including access to both medical and surgical abortion services.In making this announcement, Premier MacLauchlan recognized that it is the PEI government’s Charter obligation to provide abortion services in PEI. He acknowledged that the current policy would likely be found in violation of the Charter and that his government therefore would not oppose AAN PEI’s legal challenge. LEAF and AAN PEI expect that this announcement will result in full local access to abortion in short order, and look forward to participating in the implementation of this promise. We remain committed to holding the government to account with respect to its announced plan. For more information please click HERE.

 

Reproductive Justice in PEI

LEAF’s Expertise in Reproductive Justice

LEAF Statements

Additional Resources

Media Coverage

Get Involved

 

Reproductive Justice in PEI

Prince Edward Island (PEI) is the only province in Canada without local access to safe, legal surgical abortion.

The government of Prince Edward Island has a policy that no surgical abortions will be performed on the Island. As a result, PEI women have had no access to abortion in the province since 1982, and must travel to Nova Scotia or New Brunswick for the procedure.

On January 5, 2016, a group of local activists, Abortion Access Now PEI (AAN PEI), with the support of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), will initiate a legal challenge against the Government of Prince Edward Island in respect of its abortion policy. AAN PEI is required to provide the government with 90 days’ notice of the intended challenge. You can see the notice here and the draft Notice of Application, the final version of which will be filed in 90 days, here.

Through this legal challenge, AAN PEI seeks full and unrestricted access to on-Island, publicly-funded abortion services for PEI women, and argues that the government’s abortion policy is unlawful, discriminatory and offends the Charter rights of PEI women.

PEI’s abortion policy violates the right of PEI women to equal access to health care services under section 15 of the Charter. The policy unlawfully discriminates on the basis of sex and pregnancy because it excludes abortion – a basic health care service required by women – from the health care services offered in PEI. PEI’s abortion policy perpetuates the historic disadvantage and stigma faced by women in relation to their reproductive health and decision-making.

PEI’s Abortion Policy is a state-imposed barrier to the right and ability of individual women to exercise control over matters fundamental to their physical, emotional and psychological integrity. Difficulty, uncertainty, delay, lack of access and stigma cause PEI women physical and psychological harm, including harm to conscience and dignity.

 

LEAF’s Expertise in Reproductive Justice

Founded 30 years ago, LEAF is the only women’s organization in Canada committed to confronting all forms of gender discrimination to achieve equality for women and girls under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. LEAF applies the Charter to challenge laws that discriminate against women.

Many of LEAF’s cases have yielded landmark victories in addressing violence against women, eliminating discrimination in the workplace and providing greater access to reproductive rights.

LEAF has intervened in multiple cases regarding reproductive rights over the years:

1987 Baby R.

1989 Borowski v. Canada (Attorney General)

1989 Daigle v. Tremblay

1991 R. v. Sullivan

1996 R v. Lewis

1997 Winnipeg Child and Family Services v. G. (D.F.)

2003 R. v. Demers

2006 Watson v. R; Spratt v. R

Please review the LEAF Timeline HERE.

 

LEAF Statements

LEAF and AANPEI Welcome Announcement that PEI Government Will End Its Discriminatory Abortion Policy, March 31, 2016

LEAF Proudly Supports Abortion Access Now PEI’s Legal Challenge to Prince Edward Island’s Discriminatory Abortion Policy, January 5, 2016

 

Additional Resources

Trials and Trails of Accessing Abortion in PEI. Reporting on the Impact of PEI’s Abortion Policies on Women.” Published by Colleen MacQuarrie, PhD, Associate Professor Psychology Department, University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), Jo-Ann MacDonald, PhD, Associate Professor School of Nursing, UPEI, Cathrine Chambers, M.Ed. PhD student, Institute of Women’s Studies, University of Ottawa. January 2014

The Sovereign Uterus, an online space dedicated to publishing personal stories about abortion access and after care in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Prince Edward Island Women Speak Out, published by the PEI Abortion Rights Network (ARN)

Statistics, Abortion in Canada December 8, 2015 (first compiled February 22, 2015) by the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada

Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights

Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada

National Abortion Federation Canada

Timeline of Legal Abortion in Canada by National Abortion Federation Canada

 

Media Coverage

In PEI, the right to choose: No longer ‘the shame of being shipped off the island’, the Globe and Mail, April 1, 2016

P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan says abortion lawsuit required timely response, CBC News, April 1, 2016

Abortion services coming to P.E.I., the National, CBC, March 31, 2016

Facing lawsuit, PEI will start offering abortions, Global News, March 31, 2016

Abortion services coming to P.E.I., province announces, CBC News, March 31, 2016

P.E.I. abortion access ‘tremendous victory’ say 2 women who’ve been there, CBC News, March 31, 2016

PEI drops opposition to abortion, plans to provide access by year’s end, the Globe and Mail, March 31, 2016

Interview with Kim Stanton, LEAF Legal Director, PEI to provide abortion services to women on the island, CTV News, March 31, 2016

P.E.I. to establish abortion clinic on the Island, CTV News, March 31, 2016

P.E.I. to provide access to abortions by end of 2016, the Toronto Star, March 31, 2016

Change in P.E.I.’s abortion policy long time coming, the Guardian, March 31, 2016

Canada’s Prince Edward Island ends abortion ban in province, the Guardian, March 31, 2016

P.E.I. announces it will soon provide abortion services, rabble.ca, March 31, 2016

Canada’s smallest province to introduce abortion services, Yahoo News, March 31, 2016

No Woman Is an Island, The Walrus, February 2016

Pro-choice advocates file legal challenge to demand access to abortion in P.E.I., rabble.ca, January 12, 2016

A right for all, Toronto Star, January 8, 2016

Legal déjà vu: Another battle for abortion access, Metro, January 7, 2016

P.E.I. government must concede on abortion issue, The Guardian, January 7, 2016

Advocacy group suing P.E.I government over lack of abortion access, Truro Daily News, January 6, 2016

Advocacy group suing P.E.I government over lack of abortion access, Journal Pioneer, January 6, 2016

National women’s rights group backing P.E.I. abortion case, CBC News, January 6, 2016

Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund supports abortion services lawsuit, CBC News, January 5, 2016

P.E.I. abortion advocates to sue for access on Island, CBC News, January 5, 2016

Abortion rights group plans to take P.E.I. government to court over access, Global News, January 5, 2016

Your stories: Navigating Canada’s abortion provider patchwork, Global News, January 5, 2016

Abortion access in Canada by the numbers, CBC News, January 5, 2016

Advocacy group suing P.E.I government over lack of abortion access, The Guardian, January 5, 2016

Abortion Advocates Are Suing Only Canadian Province That Doesn’t Allow Abortions, Vice News, January 5, 2016

Abortion rights group to sue P.E.I. government over lack of access to procedure, CTV News, January 5, 2016

P.E.I. abortion rights group to sue province for not providing access to procedure, The Toronto Star, January 5, 2016

Abortion rights group to sue P.E.I over lack of access, MetroNews Canada, January 5, 2016

Abortion Access Now PEI To Take Provincial Government To Court Over Access, The Huffington Post, January 5, 2016

Pro-choice group to take PEI to court over abortion access, The Globe and Mail, January 5, 2016

Abortion rights group to sue Island government over lack of access to procedure, Lethbridge Herald, January 5, 2016

Abortion rights group to sue Island government over lack of access to procedure, 680 News, January 5, 2016

Abortion rights group to sue Island government over lack of access to procedure, CityNews, January 5, 2016

Abortion rights group plans to take P.E.I. government to court over lack of access, The National Post, January 5, 2016

Abortion rights group plans to take Island government to court over access, Maclean’s Magazine, January 5, 2016

P.E.I. pro-choice advocates take legal action against government, Chatelaine, January 5, 2016

PEI Abortion Lawsuit, No Fly Lists, Veterinarian Dr. Eric Carnegy, CBC News, January 5, 2016

Avortement : le gouvernement de l’Î.-P.-É. est poursuivi devant les tribunaux, ICI Radio-Canada, January 5, 2016

Avortement: un groupe veut amener l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard devant les tribunaux, L’actualite, January 5, 2016

A mixed year for reproductive rights, The Toronto Star, January 3, 2016

Defending status quo for abortion on P.E.I., The Guardian, December 28, 2015

A need for abortion access, The Guardian, December 28, 2015

P.E.I. women continue to face barriers to abortion despite easing of restrictions, The Toronto Star, December 27, 2015

Abortion group on P.E.I. to lobby for access to services on Island, CBC News, December 22, 2015

Barriers to abortion create stress, financial strain for Island women: advocates, Lethbridge Herald, December 21, 2015

Abortions performed on 49 P.E.I. women in N.B. since direct phone line launched, CBC News, December 15, 2015

Abortions for some: Access still depends on who you are and where you live, Global News, December 9, 2015

Provider patchwork: How abortion access varies across Canada, Global News, December 9, 2015

Where in Canada can you get an abortion? It’s secret – for security reasons, Global News, December 9, 2015

How the ‘abortion pill’ Mifegymiso could change reproductive health, Global News, December 9, 2015

Abortion access in Canada needs to be equalized, says health minister, CBC News, November 17, 2015

Abortion activists keep pressure on P.E.I. government, CBC News, June 17, 2015

P.E.I. woman who used abortion drug unhappy with ER care, CBC News, May 22, 2015

Trudeau and MacLauchlan talk abortion, CBC News, April 17, 2015

Abortion service on P.E.I. would have saved money: report, CBC News, October 20, 2014

 

Get Involved

Show your commitment on social media by sharing the facts about the equality issues in PEI.

Join the conversation on social media: #EqualityPEI #AbortionAccessNowPEI

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